KCL Researchers Launch New Technique for Fetal Therapy and Surgery

A new technique called Guided Instrumentation for Fetal Therapy and Surgery (GIFT-Surg) is being launched by a team of researchers at King's College London School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences.

GIFT-Surg is considered as a breakthrough technology for fetal therapy and surgery.

This new technique is developing the technology, tools, and training necessary to make fetal surgery a viable possibility in the treatment of congenital birth defects such as Spina Bifida, Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia and lower urinary tract obstruction.

In this procedure, a needle is inserted into the womb to tale fluid or placenta tissue out to then analyze.

Then, the clinician would hold an ultrasound probe that is on the belly of the mother and with the other hand, hold the needle.

The two must be aligned so the clinician can see the needle in the ultrasound image. It's easy to confuse the tip of the needle with its shaft, it things are slightly misaligned.

So, the team of researchers is supporting the development of a kind of GPS for ultrasound-based needle procedures, where a sensor is inserted within the needle itself and where there is active communication between the needle and the external ultrasound probe.

This way, the position of the needle can be located and displayed within the ultrasound image which is provided to the clinician.

This would allow the clinician to see the needle when it's there instead of getting confused between the shaft and the tip, and therefore really be much more accurate in the targeting of the needle procedures.